Feb 11, 2009

Fingerpickin' Good

More like fingerpickin' ok if you're talking about me. When it comes to playing guitar, fingerpicking is one those skills that I never really mastered. Not only does it take quite a bit of practice to coordinate all that finger movement on both hands while usually singing at the same time, it requires long finger nails to really do it justice, and I'm not a fan. Honestly, dudes with long nails kind of gross me out. (Sorry Esteban, you're incredible but those finger nails are creepy.) Not only that, they are constantly in the way of any other task in the other 14 hours of the day that I'm not playing my guitar. (Ladies, I don't know how you do it.) It's especially weird looking because the nails on your fretting hand always have to be kept as short as possible.

I've always had people suggest fingerpicks as the alternative to letting my finger nails get all Crypt Keeper, but the concept always annoyed me. I never really gave them a shot I suppose, but I have enough of a problem hanging on to a normal pick for more than a week, let alone 3 pointy plectrums (you normally only use 3 at a time, one on the thumb, index finger and middle finger) that I can't exactly keep in my pocket for that impromtu jam session.

But, you know, I've never complained about the annoyance of fingerpicking, and I'm not here, I'm simply very open to my flaws as a musician. I actually started thinking about this while working on another song in my list of tunes to get done asap. This tune is actually a cover. (We won't talk about how terrible I am at learning other people's songs. Let's stick with what I'm good at after this post. Sound good? Good.)

This cover song has a lot to do with living up to my promises like I wrote in my post "New Tune, In Spite of Stanley Steamer" which introduced my song "Only Apart". I promised you, my readers, and myself, that I would spend this year putting more of focus on my music. So far, I think I've done a decent job at that with two songs about a month into 2009.

The story of this cover song goes back much further than my promise about 2009. I promised a good college friend, a new friend at the time, that I would learn a tune for her from one of her favorite artists. Easy enough a task you would think. But this my first year in college and I had been playing guitar for less than a year. All the songs I was looking to learn involved quite a bit of fingerpicking and we know that I've never been that great at learning other people's tunes. (Lots of excuses, I know.) So years passed, 8 of them in fact, college is over, my friend is living half way across the country, and my promise is still left hanging there, unfulfilled.

I'm sure she's not exactly thinking about it everyday, or ever at all, but it still bugs me now and then. Partially because I made a promise, and partially because it bothers me that I just never could take the time to learn a simple song. She was always so supportive of me and my music back when I was just starting out and I needed that support the most, I at least wanted to have the chance to return some of that favor. So I've picked a song and I've spent the last week picking my fingers to the bone to finally get this right so I can surprise my friend with a song that's been 8 years in the learning. (That is unless she is reading this and realizes it's her I'm talking about.)

So that's my songwriting task for this week. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be posting it up for all to hear because I'm keeping my music player to originals only. Honestly, I really don't want to mess with copyright issues. I don't mean to tease but I have a fingerpicking song of my own creation that I'm working on for the near future that I will definitely be sharing.

So until next time, thanks for reading. Keep pickin'.....I mean rockin'!

UPDATE - I just remembered something in regards to fingerpicking. Check out Now Transmission's song "One To Blame" at their MySpace by clicking here. I wrote the majority of the music originally, but the fingerpicking part in the intro and first verse is my one musical performance contribution to the EP. I guess that's a little proof that I'm not totally useless when it comes to the skill.

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